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Editor’s Page: Navigating

The journey counts.


Photo: Adam Jung 

This issue, we’ve got stories about sharks, the symphony’s rebound, a wanderlust tale and an interview with modern-day Hōkūle‘a wayfarer Nā‘ālehu Anthony. That might seem a diverse collection, but these stories share the common element of navigation.


In our cover story, senior editor Don Wallace takes a deep dive into the world of sharks prompted by a 56-percent spike in attacks over the past four years. He found inspiring survival stories, illuminating statistics and science, and a Native Hawaiian perspective pulls everything together. In editing the piece, I was struck by the observation that some people choose to respond to shark attacks by simply staying out of the water because of what might lurk there. While we all have our outsize fears, I can’t conceive missing out on our beautiful ocean because of the relatively tiny risk of an attack. And I see survivors bravely dismissing that choice. But I can respect that’s how some people choose to steer through their fears.


I can imagine that the talented members of Honolulu’s symphony and supporters feel that they have an important second chance to chart a course for musical survival with the reconstituted Hawai‘i Symphony Orchestra. In “The Symphony’s Reprise,” associate editor Katrina Valcourt finds out what’s working with this symphony reboot just five years after bankruptcy silenced the state’s premier orchestra. 


I’m also proud to share a story by my old friend Willis David Hoover that starts in Missouri with a young Arlo Guthrie and bounces around through Kailua-Kona to eventually land right here in Honolulu. “A Ramblin’ Road,” is a tale he’s told before, usually while he’s strumming a guitar. But this is the first time Will has recounted the whole yarn in print. Every time I see Hoover, he reminds me to take time to appreciate the journey, the day, the hour that we are in right now.


We also had a chance to sit down with Hōkūle‘a wayfarer Nā‘ālehu Anthony. He’s a Renaissance man rooted in Hawaiian culture, tech-savvy in his career as a videographer and communicator. He talks about the role of Mālama Honua (the worldwide journey) but also about his first time as a crew member, when he was just 24 and uncertain if he was doing the right thing until he was actually aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe.


Closer to home, it’s been a time of transition for some of those closest to me. My daughters are choosing school and job trajectories. And navigating those life-altering choices feels a bit like how I imagine those discovery dives with sharks. While we have overall confidence that the experience will end well, sometimes the journey feels quite anxious, with unknown dangers hidden below the surface. Sometimes it’s difficult to not focus on my worries about potential dangers, yet I know I have to trust that my daughters have the smarts, the strength and the overall good sense to find their own way. And that’s true, too, with friends dealing with changes in careers and evolving relationships. A wise woman I know told me that’s a good time to make new friends. While I appreciate the wry humor, I’ve also come to recognize that some of my friends now are so much a part of my family that I’d rather navigate with them through the squalls of life than try to find a new crew.


One month into 2016, the message could be to remember that the journey often winds up more interesting and meaningful than the destination we first intended. And, although we can’t control a lot of what we encounter, we can take time to see that sometimes the very act of navigating moves us forward.




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Honolulu Magazine June 2019
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